Emmit Slay


Little Sonny, Joe Von Battle, John Lee Hooker and Emmit Slay | Jacques Demetre, 1959 | tc568

Sunday Blues notes:

Vocalist/guitarist Emmit Slay was a member of Todd Rhodes’ Orchestra, where he recorded two records with Rhodes in Detroit in 1950. After two years with his own trio, Slay launched a solo career in 1953 recording ten sides for Savoy. Two sides for an unknown label were never issued in 1957. Eight recordings were made for Checker in 1958, but only two were released. Slay’s final two recordings were made for JVB in 1959.

No biographical data is known for this artist.

Earl Dranes

Only sketchy information is available about Earl Dranes. He was understood to be a Chicago based blues musician, playing guitar and organ (with his feet, according to the “Blues Encyclopaedia”!) who accompanied other blues singers including Arthur Big Boy Spires and Lazy Bill Lucas, also from Chicago.

Lazy Bill Lucas noted in the book “Worlds of Music” that in 1946 he, Dranes and Willie Mabon joined the local musicians’ union and became professional musicians.

By 1950 Mabon and Dranes were recording for Chess as “The Blues Rockers”.

No biographical details or photo located for this artist.

Doctor Ross and his Jump and Jive Boys

Singer, guitarist, harmonica player, drummer, and one-man band Charles Isaiah Ross was born on October 21, 1925 and died on May 28, 1993. Often compared with John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson in style, he made a number of recordings for Sun Records in the 1950s which were released on the Chess label. He subsequently moved to Detroit where he worked for General Motors and recorded for other labels.

In the early 1970s he toured London and Europe, recording for Blue Horizon records and others. In 1981 his album “Rare blues” was awarded a Grammy.